Background: Research on older people’s perception regarding their quality of life and services and supports needed to maintain their independence was identified as a priority for the South Australian Department of Health in 2000–2001. This population survey was conducted to examine issues that older persons considered important in the areas of housing, transport, finances and information provision. Objective: The aim of this article is to present the characteristics of community-dwelling older adults who reported falling in the previous 12 months. Method: A random representative sample of community-dwelling adults, living in South Australia, and aged 65 years and over were selected based on a sample from the electronic white pages telephone directory. Overall, 2,619 interviews were conducted (70.5% response rate) using Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing technology. Results: Approximately 30% of older adults had experienced a fall in the previous 12 months. The characteristics of people who had fallen included those in the older age groups, with fair or poor general health, whose health had worsened in the last 12 months, with lower socioeconomic status, those born in an English-speaking country, needing assistance at home, and with a home in need of repair. Of the respondents who had experienced a fall in the previous 12 months, 71.8% did not consider that they were at risk of having another fall. Conclusion: There is a wide range of characteristics associated with community-dwelling older adults over the age of 65 who report falling in the previous 12 months. Perceptions of the risk of falling also vary. All factors need to be considered when targeting interventions to reduce the risk of both initial and multiple falls.

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